31 May 2019  |   04:13am IST

Wisdom of yore is art today

IndeGenius Fest – a three-day festival organised by Syamantak: University Of Life at Saraya Eco Stay and Art Café at Sangolda brings together the art of indigenous technology and how it can be used in Goa today. Café speaks to Sachin Desai, the man behind the first edition of the festival in Goa
 Wisdom of yore is art today



A few years ago, every Goan home would have a heap of

shells stocked in the backyard. The same shells would be processed and turned into whitewash for the compound walls around the house. Unfortunately, this tradition of collecting shells is no longer followed nor is the art form carried forward to the next generation. IndeGenius Fest, ‘Back to the roots’ is bringing back different indigenous technologies that could be pearls of knowledge for Goans. The three-day festival will be held from today, May 31 to June 2, 2019 at Saraya Eco Stay and Art Café at Sangolda. Conceptualised by Deeksha Thind, Saraya has been making an effort to create art revolving around nature in Goa.

IndiGenius Fest is a native wisdom and natural living festival. The festival will be bringing together different sustainable practices from India to one platform. There will be live sharing by modern masters in these multiple arts, crafts and natural living practices with three days of workshops. Beside the workshops, one can also enjoy live musical performances and interesting food stalls.

Some of the workshops are free for the participants and on gift donation basis for the paid workshops and one can directly register at the venue. On May 31, the day will begin with a Kiln-making workshop and a Kolam workshop and in the evening, one can learn how to make yummy handmade ice-creams at home. Prof Prajal Sakhardande, History Professor at Dhempo College of Arts and Science, Miramar, will be talking about his new book, ‘Goa Gold Goa Silver Her History Her Heritage’ with a presentation and he will also be signing copies of the book. The day will wind up with a session of live music.

June 1, 2019, will teach participates about Vegan recipes and probiotics at a workshop by Shailendar and the second half of the day will be workshops on Lime making and compost toilet followed by live music.

The concluding day of the fest, June 2, 2019, will include a continuation of the session on vegan recipes and probiotics by Shailendar, soap making and enzyme workshop and a live music session in the evening. Four workshops – Natural Dyeing- Color Ashram, Prasari Honey, Handloom weaving by Damji Wankar, President awardee traditional handloom weaver from Kutch and Leather puppetry making workshop by Chetan will be held from May 31 to June 2, 2019 from 11am to 10pm.

Sachin Desai is the brains behind Syamantak University of Life, a centre for sustainable living and open learning. He explains what he is trying to achieve through Syamantak University of Life: “We are running a community university teaching about indigenous technology based on Nai Talim, a principle of education by Mahatma Gandhi. We also organise five-day stays in the remotest villages in the Western Ghats to learn about different arts. When I met Deeksha Thind, we both shared the same thoughts and decided to start a similar event in Goa. Saraya itself is a village in a city and the right venue for the festival.”

Syamantak University of Life will be setting up stalls with handmade natural ice-cream from wood apple and jackfruits and will also conduct workshops on handmade soaps, multipurpose eco-enzyme, kiln and lime making from tisreo shells. “Goa is the most ideal destination in India because being a young tourism hub and the ill effects of modernity, Goa has still kept its roots of culture and tradition intact. Things are changing but it is time to rethink what should be done. India was not an agrarian country as it is often perceived as; it was an industrial country as every house was industrious and could sustain itself. In Goa, lime making from tisreos is a local technology. In Malvan, the Shivaji Fort was built using this technology, which is amazing and now, when our students went to learn the art, there was only one 75-year-old artist who knew about this dying wisdom and technology. If we can educate at least 1-2 youth, it can turn into sustainable technology,” adds Sachin, who plans to continue with the festival every year in Goa.


Iddhar Udhar